When considering trying to get sober, you will have to decide if you are going cold turkey or tapering off. There is a lot to consider when deciding which route to go. The decision will be different for each person. Unfortunately there is not a step-by-step, failsafe guide on how to quit drinking or a guaranteed way to stop. Things that worked for one person may not work for the next. Or, one way may work for you and another way may not. Here are some things to consider…
Going Cold Turkey or Tapering Off?
Quitting Cold Turkey
When deciding trying to decide if you are going cold turkey or tapering off, there are many things to think about. If you choose to go cold turkey, you will want to know what you should expect. Quitting cold turkey means to immediately quit drinking alcohol completely. This could be the more difficult route to take. The reason for this is that if you are dependent on alcohol, your body will go through withdrawals within ours or days of your last drink.
Common withdrawal symptoms can include delirium tremens, anxiety or agitation, depression, hallucination or delusion, shaking or tremors, high fevers and seizures. In addition, you may have hyperthermia, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, or even a heart attack. None of these symptoms are pleasant. If you’ve previously tried to stop drinking and experienced physical withdrawals, it’s likely you’ll have them again. While some people can be successful at going cold turkey on their own, many do better with the help of a detox center.
There is also the option of tapering off when deciding if you are going cold turkey or tapering off. Tapering off is gradually reducing your alcohol intake over time. You can gradually detoxify from alcohol by tapering off. You can taper off either by using alcohol itself or by using medications. There is no set tapering schedule as long as you just reduce the amount and frequency over time. Some people may also find it easier to just taper off their alcohol use rather than jumping immediately into an abstinence on day one. This is true even if they do not have significant withdrawal symptoms.
It is also very important when tapering off to fight dehydration and to replenish lost vitamins. At a medical detox center, they will rehydrate you with an IV and could even give you vitamin shots. However, if you are doing a self detox, make sure to drink a lot of fluids and take vitamins. Drinks like Gatorade are good because they have plenty of electrolytes.
Ultimately, you will have to decide if you are going cold turkey or tapering off. Getting off alcohol has to be a personal decision that you are making for yourself.